Policy: Budgets & Deficits

Bipartisan House bill calls on Congress to fly coach

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill Monday that would prohibit members of Congress from flying first class on commercial airlines at taxpayers' expense.

"Members of Congress are public servants and should not receive special privileges at the expense of hard-working taxpayers," said Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., one of the bill's initial four co-sponsors. "It’s wrong that members of Congress can purchase luxury airfare with taxpayer money when many families in my district and across the county are struggling to make ends meet."

The "If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then so Should Congress Act" seeks to extend to the legislative branch the same restrictions on first-class air traveled placed on many government employees.

"It's a very simple bill," said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., another co-sponsor. "At a time of massive deficits and with a national debt in excess of $17 trillion, members of Congress should not be using taxpayers' hard-earned money to buy luxury airline seats.

"If members of our military can't fly first class using taxpayer funds, neither should members of Congress."

The measure would permit some exceptions, such allowing members of Congress with a disability or other significant medical needs to fly first class.

Reps. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and John Barrow, D-Ga., also co-sponsored the bill.

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